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by Archaeology Newsroom

Archanes in the Historic Period

Whoever studies Archanes after the Minoan period is overwhelmed by the feeling of a strong disproportion between the splendour of the Minoan remnants and the relatively meagre evidence of human presence in the years succeeding the Mycenaean era, a feeling also known from other archaeological sites of Crete. Recently, however, the increased interest in researching the historic period of Crete has somehow revised this situation. A strong evidence of the continuity of Archanes, from the prehistoric to historic age, is furnished by the fact that the site retained its prohellenic name which is documented in a fifth century B.C. inscription as Acharna. The scattered archaeological data leave no doubt that the place has been inhabited throughout the historic period, from the Dark Ages to the Roman time. Poles of attraction were not only the fertile lands at the foothill and the slopes of Mount Youchta but also the primeval cultural traditions related with one of the most sacred mountains of Crete. Although Archanes of the historic phase has always been shadowed by Knossos, the powerful town of the region, it never lost either its financial importance or religious significance. Some epigraphic finds contribute to the better elucidation of these two characteristics.